The Geographical Wonder: Petrified Forest National Park
In Northern Arizona, you'll find a 120,000+ acre park filled with petrified wood which is how the name was coined: Petrified Forest National Park. These deposits of petrified wood have been dated back as far as 225 million years ago in the late Triassic period. The petrified wood is considered a fossil and is the only one found in the area.
The presence of these fossils have made the park very popular with paleontologists since the early 1900's. The Petrified wood can appear blue, orange, red, purple, yellow, black, brown and white. These colors are created from the minerals: quartz, manganese and iron oxides. The petrified wood formed when woody stems of plants were buried in wet sediments saturated with dissolved minerals. Over the next few thousands of years they were then buried under other layers of earth. The lack of oxygen slowed the decay of the wood and allowed the minerals to replace the cell walls and fill the void spaces in the wood. As erosion took place during the next period on earth, the layers of earth began to disappear and the petrified wood was revealed.
Unfortunately, now much of the park is made up of shortgrass prairie land. This is due to many tourists visiting the park and taking some petrified wood with them. This was finally stopped in 1906 by the National Park Service when the region became protected as a National Monument.